ROCKFORD — The Rockford IceHogs are still without a win on the season after falling 3-1 to the Grand Rapids Griffins at the BMO Harris Bank Thursday.
The Griffins pushed the pace in the opening moments, outshooting the IceHogs 8-0, but goaltender Matt Tomkins (26 saves on 28 shots) denied every chance and all 12 shots in the opening period to keep the contest scoreless. IceHogs fired five shots on Griffins netminder Kevin Boyle (12 saves on 13 shots).
Griffins forward Michael Rasmussen opened the scoring early in the second period on the power play, deflecting in a Dennis Cholowski shot from the blueline for his first goal of the season.
The IceHogs responded shortly after their own man-advantage with Alec Regula’s first pro goal at 13:34 with help from team captain Garrett Mitchell and defenseman Chad Krys. Shots were hard to come by for the IceHogs, finishing the period with a season-low two in the frame and seven total after 40 minutes of play.
Veteran forward Riley Barber reclaimed the lead for the Griffins in the third period, connecting on a drive from the right faceoff circle at 7:13. With the net empty, the forward Chase Pearson sealed the victory for the visiting club at 17:59.
The IceHogs finished the contests 0-for-5 on the power play while the Griffins went 1-for-4.
“If you watch Grand Rapids, they funnel everything to the net,” Rockford coach Derek King said. “We’ve got to get more traffic in front of net and we have got to funnel pucks there. We (had) puck possession time but it was permitter stuff. We’ve been working on it the last couple days in practice. And we will continue to pound it in them–funnel pucks to the net. The net hasn’t moved in the 100 years since hockey was started. The net’s always been in that spot. We know where it is. We’ve just got to get there now.”